Research shows that new mothers are being forced out of their jobs

woman baby

Over one in ten (11%) of Britain’s new mothers have reported that they have been dismissed, made compulsorily redundant where others in their workplace were not, or treated so poorly they felt they had to leave their jobs.

The findings come from a survey of over 3,200 women by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – and if representative of the UK as a whole, could mean up to 54,000 women affected each year.

The survey also showed that one in five new mothers experienced negative comments in the workplace when announcing their pregnancy or returning from maternity leave.

Worryingly, more than one in twenty (7%) said that felt under pressure to hand in their notice due to their pregnancy, while of those who have been allowed to work flexibly around half saw negative consequences such as receiving fewer development and progression opportunities at work.

However, more positively the report found that 84% of employers believe that supporting pregnant workers and those on maternity leave is in the interests of their company

Caroline Waters, deputy chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “This research reveals the worrying levels of discrimination and disadvantage at work that women still face today. Not only is discrimination unlawful, but it is also bad for business.

“That’s why today we’re launching a major initiative to bring this issue into the public eye, improve awareness of the law and work with business and other groups to find workable solutions.”

Dianah Worman, diversity adviser for the CIPD, added: “The findings of this important research show how employers are losing female talent by default. It’s a wake-up call about checking against weak employment practices that cause such negative experiences for mums who want to work. It’s nonsense for talent to be wasted and discrimination in pregnancy and maternity, whether intended or not, is an urgent area to be addressed.”